LASERS IN MEDICINE
"Laser medicine" - the term which has made a lot of noise.
Our country is the native land of the lasers. But Russia is one of the first countries, as well, who has seen also the prospect of their application in medicine and is one of the first countries who initiated a wide spectrum of scientific researches in this direction. Thanks to Russia lasers were involved into medicine practically from the moment of their birth, having generated the whole new direction in medicine with the well-known today total name «Laser Medicine». A number of state enterprises and then a lot of small enterprises have successfully mastered a manufacture of therapeutic and surgical laser devices, selling their thousands in domestic market and abroad. Surgical, and especially therapeutic applications of lasers in our country today are so wide that many experts seriously speak about the leading position of Russia in the World in the field of Laser Medicine. Especially in the area of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT).
Boom of LLLT in Russia was for 1990th years. Not the last role in its development has played also the fact that a laser therapeutic device from the point of view of an engineering design is primitive enough, easily can be reproduced by an electronic engineer of a middle qualification, and with the advent of semi-conductor lasers it became also completely small-sized and cheap, so that any practising doctor can buy such devices in its property and store them at home. For many Russian doctors in crisis of 1990-th, LLLT became the additional tool of private practice and an additional source of earnings, that itself more and more involved doctors in the Laser Medicine field. One by another various theses "were baked" for both a candidate and a doctoral degree on LLLT (Ph.D. and Sci.Dr. in Russia). However, today about LLL they speak and write essentially less. Ambiguity with existence of specific mechanisms of LLLT, vigilance of many developed countries of the world and of leading clinical physicians of the world concerning LLLT (many of them consider it no more than a placebo-therapy), and also fair reproaches that the medicine cannot be neither "laser", nor "electromagnetic", not any else, but it is uniform and indivisible substance, and, maximum, it is possible to speak about lasers IN medicine - all of these leads today to the situation that the former fashion on LLLT is gradually finishing.
Meanwhile, low-level laser technologies in medicine aren't limited only to frameworks of carrying out of medical procedures. As not less perspective area of their application in medicine, for example, can be considered the so-called noninvasive (nondestructive, in vivo, in situ) diagnostics. This new diagnostic direction which arose in the late eighties potentially is capable in the nearest future to lead to creation of not less attractive, than the therapeutic medical equipment, a new segment of the market of laser medical devices and services. Optical noninvasive diagnostics use an optical (including lasers) radiation for illumination of tissues and organs of patient and a registration of reflected (scattered, transmitted, etc.) light for the purpose of determination of diagnostic information on biochemical and anatomic (morphological) tissues' structure. At present, two greatest sections of noninvasive laser medical diagnostics are: an optical coherent and diffusive tomography (OCT, ODT) and a noninvasive medical spectrophotometry (NMS). The first direction assumes in vivo reception of optical images at a level of separate cellular layers and tissues' structures, and the second - reception in lifetime regime (in vivo) the data on dynamics of biochemical composition (hemoglobin level, oxyhemoglobin level, bilirubin level, etc.) in the inspected volume of a tissue. In our country development of NMS in a very big degree was defined and is defined today by works of our scientific groups at MONIKI (the section "Laboratory history" see), therefore for us the term "laser medicine" first of all means the noninvasive laser medical diagnostics, NMS in particular.